Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Nov 24:
Cuttack Development Authority (CDA) is running short of officers to conduct hearing in cases pertaining to discretionary quota (DQ) scam.
While on the basis of Taradatt Committee report CDA has served show-cause notices to persons availing multiple plots under the DQ,its unable to assess/review their replies in the absence of adequate number of officers and has put them in the cold storage.
Sources said most of the respondents had sought time for replying to the show-cause notices sent to them. Interestingly, the time period sought by most of them has elapsed, while in the absence of officers/employees those are yet to be examined.
Since politicians, ministers, lawyers and other influential persons have availed multiple plots under the DQ, therefore efforts are on by the powers that be to reduce the probe to farce level by adopting dilatory tactics, the sources said.
According to the report furnished by the taskforce on DQ chaired by senior bureaucrat Taradatt there was large-scale bungling in allotment of plots/houses by CDA, Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), and Odisha Housing Board Corporation (OHBC).
The taskforce in its report had pointed out that from January 1, 1995 to July 31, 2014 allotments of plots/houses by CDA, BDA and OHBC relevant rules were flouted and powers misused to make allotments to some influential persons who include politicians, ministers and lawyers. These people had managed to get multiple plots/houses under DQ despite them having plots/houses in their names in urban areas.
While the state government ordered for a vigilance inquiry into the matter, CDA authorities have issued show-cause notices to a total 1084 persons.
Those served with notices were asked to reply within a period of one month as to why allotments made to them will not be cancelled.
While 826 have responded to the notice, 258 are to send their replies, revealed sources.
It can be assumed that those who have not responded to the notice either didn’t feel it appropriate to reply to the notice or their addresses were changed and the notices didn’t reach them.
However, those who have replied to the notice have sought a month or two’s time, the sources said.
Neither replies have been scrutinized or reviewed nor repeat reminders have been served, such situation has arisen due to shortage of officers, the sources added.
On the other hand, for expeditious probe of the matter the General Administration department had constituted a four-member committee. It was said that all cases pertaining to DQ will be taken up by this committee. The GA department had appointed two OAS officers and two retired OAS officers who had worked with the CDA. However, it is yet to be implemented.
While CDA has appointed two retired OAS officers 15 days back for the committee, GA is yet to appoint the other two officers as a result of which the probe is yet to take off.
“Out of those who have responded to the notice, 80% have sought for more time. Remaining 20% have replied in specific to the notice. Since we are short of officers we are unable to review/assess the replies. Nor are we able to send repeat reminders. Recently, for conducting hearing in cases, CDA has appointed two retired OAS officers. But GA department is yet to appoint officers for the purpose. Under the present circumstances replies of 20% respondents who have given specific replies are being examined/ reviewed. Remaining replies will be examined/ reviewed after other officers join,” said CDA vice-chairman Pratap Das.